July Banner 
In This Issue:
Water Wise Demonstration Gardens and Rebates
FOG Pilot Project at El Estero
Easily Retrofit Your Sprinklers
Ocean Friendly Gardens Program
Garden Wise Guys Episode 17
High School Video Contest Winners
Check out the winning videos of the Santa Barbara County Water Awareness High School Video Contest! Click here to watch!
High School Videos
Where Does My Water Come From?
Watch the new video "Water Resources of Santa Barbara County"
Lake Cachuma
July is Smart Irrigation Month!
Learn ways to create and maintain an efficient irrigation system. Check out the City's smart irrigation info or click here  for resources from the Irrigation Association.
Smart Irrigation Month logo
Countywide Rainfall
Want a recap of the rain we've had?  Check out local rainfall info.
Rainfall Map
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Water Savings Shine in Demonstration Gardens and Landscaping Rebates

Alice Keck Park


The summer months are when water use increases due to outdoor irrigation. In order to reduce this upward trend of water use, you can update your landscaping and irrigation system to one that is more water wise. To see sustainability at work, visit a water wise demonstration garden in Santa Barbara: the Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden, the Firescape Garden, the Lifescape Garden/Chumash Point Ethnobotanic Preserve at Santa Barbara City College, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. You can also see a segment of "Inside Santa Barbara" that highlights these local water wise demonstration gardens.


If you would rather have a virtual garden tour, check out "Water Wise Gardening in Santa Barbara County," an interactive website which has photos of hundreds of plants that use little water, as well as twenty six local water wise garden "tours" including the demonstration gardens.


To help make your garden more water-wise, the City's Smart Landscape Rebate program covers half the expense of materials with up to $1,000 for single-family homes and up to $4,000 for businesses and homeowner associations. The rebate covers 50 percent of improvements to irrigation systems as well as water wise plants and mulch.

The City's Fats, Oils, and Grease to Soon Start Powering Wastewater Treatment

El Estero Digestor

The City will soon embark on a pilot program to collect fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from local restaurants to produce heat and electricity for the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant. El Estero has two anaerobic digesters which produce methane as a by-product of the treatment process; adding FOG into the digesters can increase biogas production while reducing the need to haul the grease for disposal.


There are roughly 350 restaurants within the City's sewer system that produce an estimated 20,000 gallons of FOG daily that is collected from grease traps and hauled outside the county for disposal. The FOG Pilot Program includes an agreement with Marborg Industries for hauling, pretreatment and delivery of FOG to El Estero where it can then be used as a renewable energy source, yielding up to 4,500 kWh of additional energy per day. Jim Dewey, the City's Facilities Manager, states that "the methane generated will produce heat for the digestive process of El Estero as well as the potential to cover all the electrical needs of the plant." Construction of the pilot program is projected for completion by the end of 2011.

Simple Steps for Summer Savings 

Switch out sprinkler nozzles for efficient irrigation 

Rotating Nozzle


One of the simplest ways to make your summer watering more efficient is to retrofit your existing pop-up spray heads with rotating nozzles. Rotating nozzles are designed to water more precisely, using about 20% less water than traditional spray head nozzles. Rotating nozzles irrigate with multi-trajectory, rotating streams that apply water more slowly and uniformly than conventional sprinkler nozzles- especially when adjusted for specific site conditions. In addition to reducing water use, these nozzles are less likely to mist, more resistant to wind, and significantly reduce runoff onto streets and sidewalks.

 Retrofitting your nozzles is a simple process: simply pull up the existing spray head and unscrew it; while still in the pop-up position, screw in the new rotating nozzle and adjust spray as needed to minimize runoff. Check out photos of these steps and for a guide on retrofitting nozzles and low-flow valves for master pressure regulators, click here.

Ocean Friendly Gardens Program Kicks Off with "Basics Class" 

OFG Basics Class Sign In 

The Santa Barbara and Isla Vista Surfrider Chapters got off to a good start with their Ocean Friendly Gardens Program with their "Basics Class" on June 11th taught by Pamela Berstler with G3 (The Green Gardens Group). Participants learned how to "apply CPR to the landscape" (Conservation, Permeability and Retention). Surfrider is partnering on the series with the City of Santa Barbara and other local water agencies. The Basics Class was the first part in the OFG series funded by a grant from the California Coastal Commission's Whale Tail License Plate program. Whale Tail Grant


Next steps include:

-Sept 11th- Hands-On Workshop on site evaluation

-Oct 18th- A one-day training for professionals that can assist people in OFG techniques

-Garden Assistance Program Workday

-Lawn Patrol walking the surrounding area to look for signs of OFG


Get more info at the OFG webpage. Read the complete blog post by Paul Herzog, Surfrider Foundation, by clicking here. Email santabarbaraofg@gmail.com to sign up and be notified of the dates and locations of the OFG classes.


Garden Wise Guys Episode 17:

Going Back to School

GWG Ep 17It's never too late to teach an old dog green tricks. Hosts Owen Dell and Billy Goodnick explore the academic opportunities in Santa Barbara for learning about sustainable landscaping. Watch the episode here.